The Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery has formally responded to
Peter Costello/Treasury’s decision to ban Crikey from next week’s
Budget lock-up on the grounds that we’re not “mainstream media”.
Gallery secretary James Grubel yesterday sent this letter to Costello’s
chief media adviser David Alexander, with a CC to Treasury’s Head of
Luddite Affairs, Ray Gavin (who also goes under the title Acting
Director, Liaison):

Dear David,

am writing on behalf of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery
Committee to express our concern at the exclusion of from
the 2005/2006 Budget lock-up.

Crikey is an organisation
accredited to the Parliamentary Press Gallery and two of its staff have
Press Gallery passes. As such, the Press Gallery believes Crikey
journalists should be entitled to the same rights and access as other
Gallery members when it comes to media events, including the Budget
lockup and Treasurer Peter Costello’s budget-day media conference.

James Grubel
Gallery Secretary
May 4, 2005

Meanwhile, the Crikey Army continues to send hundreds of angry,
thoughtful and witty emails to Treasury which have been copied to us in
the past couple of weeks. When this one hit our inbox yesterday it
seemed a pity to waste it on Ray Gavin and his merry band of Luddites:

Dear Mr Gavin,

hoping you can help clarify precisely what constitutes a “mainstream”
media outlet, as I’m confused about where to find the Treasury’s exact

I was going to try visiting your website, but then I
realised that the internet isn’t a mainstream source of information. So
I decided to buy a hard copy of the Government’s media policy instead –
before realising that my favourite bookstore, Amazon, isn’t a
mainstream bookseller either. Determined not to give up, I resolved to
fly to Canberra to ask you in person… but now I realise that despite
having over 300,000 members, isn’t actually a mainstream
travel agency after all.

Would you be so kind as to provide me
with a definition of the mainstream media, using a mainstream mode of
communication? As email is too obscure, may I suggest a scroll of
parchment inscribed with nut-gall ink using a fine camel-hair brush,
delivered to me by a caravan train of nomads riding a pace of finely
groomed donkeys.

I respectfully await your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Josh Zepps
Head Comedy Writer & Performer
Mike Carlton Breakfast Show

And finally, a reader sends the following item in the CPA (Certified
Practising Accountants) newsletter, and wonders why bean-counters are
considered “mainstream media” while Crikey, with its staff of around a
dozen journalists, is not:

CPA Australia’s 2005-06 Federal Budget coverage

the Hon Peter Costello, MP will deliver the 2005-06 budget at 7.30 pm
AEST on 10 May 2005. CPA Australia will have teams in Canberra and
Melbourne working to provide the latest budget night news on our
website. Further commentary will also be available on the website
following the budget.

Our analyst, Paul Drum, will attend the
industry ‘lock-up’ in Canberra to scan the budget papers for any
announcements that affect members, their clients and the accounting

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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